Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pierre-Auguste Cot’s The Storm and Springtime

Pierre-Auguste Cot's The Storm and Springtime
Academically trained French painter Pierre-Auguste Cot, who was a student of Bouguereau, among others, is particularly known for two similarly striking paintings, The Storm (above, top three images) and Springtime (bottom four images).

Both are beautifully rendered, with a feeling of lush naturalism, playfully romantic and more than a little suggestive. Check out the smoldering look the young woman is giving her companion on the swing in Springtime.

Of course, dressing up modern passion in academically approved antique dress, like the depiction of nymphs and satyrs, made an image a “history painting”, and events from mythology or history could excuse a great deal of romance-fueled suggestion in late 19th Century France.

Both works have been immensely popular from their creation to this day, and have been the subject of countless reproductions over that time.

Both paintings are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and a reader (thanks, radium56!) has informed me that both are now prominently on display before the entrance to the 19th and 20th century European paintings gallery, where they make a dramatic visual impression.

For those of us who can’t run over to the Met tomorrow to check them out, the museum’s excellent website has high-resolution images of both (click on “Fullscreen” under the image on the main page, then the “Download” arrow at bottom right).

As far as I can tell the museum is not making a point of this as a mini-exhibition or feature on the schedule, it just seems to be a curator’s idea of a fine way to celebrate spring.

Indeed.

4 thoughts on “Pierre-Auguste Cot’s The Storm and Springtime

  1. kiki

    This is so beautiful. I love the atmosphere look in the background with that green color. and the beautiful face of the young lady. This is something I wanna dream while I was sleeping.

  2. Lane

    I agree with kiki, it is a beautiful dream, and the artist captured it perfectly for many years to come.

    Human feet are not easy to draw or paint, but Cot was able to overcome that awkwardness. I love the curling of the toes in the last image.

    So pretty.

  3. larry

    I always likes those paintings, but I understand why the Met isn’t making a point of their new prominent placement. Those Cot’s were always singled out by critics as the best examples of the worst kind of art. Glad to see the Met having a change of heart.
    Happy Spring!

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